Every Human Being, a Human Person
In Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, he pronounced that the greatest scourge on America was slavery and the war that came about because of it. The greatest scourge on our nation today is abortion. 926,200 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2014. Almost four in ten pregnancies end in abortion (Guttmacher). The fact is, abortion is the greatest cause of death in America, with almost twice the death rate of cancer ( cdc.gov). These statistics should be appalling, but perhaps more shocking is the number of people who stand by or even support this infanticide. Many people fail to understand, or perhaps do not take the time to consider the immorality and evil implications of abortion. Each human embryo is a unique human being, and every human being is an individual human person.
First, it is important to acknowledge that humans exist on a timeline of history. Everything in our passing world has an origin. Every artistic masterpiece begins with a first brush stroke, every relationship begins with a first “hello,” and every flower begins as a tiny seed. The Biblical account of the world’s origins can be found in the book of Genesis. Christians believe that “God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis l: 1 ). Just as flowers grow and blossom from a single seed, each human’s life and legacy can be traced all the way back to a point of origination. It may seem obvious, but it is critical to establish that a human’s time on earth has two endpoints. While death is somewhat of a taboo subject in Western culture, it seems many people are more comfortable with, and possibly even more knowledgeable of death than they are of life’s inception. Many people have witnessed a loved one pass out of this life. What happens after death may be uncertain for them, but almost everyone knows what it is like to see someone dear to them go. Who has seen life begin? In the Bible, David says, “[God’s] eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect” (Psalm 13 9: 16). Each human being possesses both a biological beginning and a personal beginning.
Second, human biology begins at conception. “The conclusion that human life begins at sperm-egg fusion is uncontested, objective, based on the universally accepted scientific method of distinguishing different cell types from each other and on ample scientific evidence.”
(Maureen Condie, Ph.D.) Just after fertilization between the male sperm and female egg takes place, a zygote is formed, containing unique DNA. While in the early stages of development the human embryo is seemingly just a clump of cells, the embryo will continue to grow and mature into an adult human. Not all the pieces are there, but all the potential exists. Some argue that the earliest stages of human development cannot be considered truly human, because the embryo could die or divide into twins. Unfortunately, death is a part of all life in our depraved world, and as Norman Ford put it, “the evidence would seem to indicate not that there is no individual at conception, but that there is at least one and possibly more.” From the starting point of conception to the point of full maturity as an adult, a human remains a unique biological individual.
Finally, each human exists as a whole with a unique identity. Humanity must exist as a whole because it cannot exist in pieces. Someone may have half of a sandwich or half of a house, but who can have half of a dog or much less half of a human? The human body and the human person exist together from conception. Sure, a fetus does not really look like a person, and it does not have the cognitive abilities of an adult, but that is not the basis for humanity. While an unborn human may not possess all the pieces of humanity, all the potential is there. Properly nurtured and cared for, the same clump of cells that some considered worthless could grow to become a successful businessperson or save lives as a doctor. Not all the pieces are there yet, but all the potential exists for that fetus to grow and mature.
If someone were driving down the road at night when a figure appeared in the headlights of his car, and he were pretty sure it was not a person, would he plow on ahead? Even if science did not affirm the humanity of the unborn, would it be worth the gamble? Some say that abortion should be a matter to be decided personally, but can a fetus really be a human to one mother and a clump of cells to another? Can life be decided on a case-by-case basis? Either millions of unborn humans have been killed by abortions, or none have. This is a matter that cannot be left up to so-called “personal liberty” because the fundamental evil of abortion is the taking of the life and liberty of the unborn. Abortion opens up the door for endless tyranny on the weak. The logic that would lead someone to support abortion also leads to the conclusion that any life that does not meet someone’s arbitrary standard of value does not deserve to live. The elderly will be the next to be targeted, then the mentally disabled, and the chain continues until the weaker are exploited and exterminated by the stronger. Millions of lives have already been lost. The strong in this world must stand up and defend the weak and ensure that the evils of abortion cannot be allowed to continue because each human being, no matter how small, is a human person deserving of life.
Article written by Timothy Davis of Watertown, WI, 2nd place winner of 2018 Essay Contest